It’s hard being a woman. As women, we face a seemingly endless stream of hardship. As we see women across the world engage in the fight for our rights, we are constantly reminded that life as a woman is difficult. Through all the trials and tribulations, perhaps one of the most irritating symptom of womanhood is also one of the most common and natural: our periods.
As a sufferer of Endometriosis, I have experienced debilitating periods for over nearly 15 years. Whether it is severe mood swings, bloating, or of course serious pain, my period can render me completely useless given the severity of my symptoms on any given day. According to a study conducted by the British Medical Journal, women experience an average loss of productivity of 33 per cent per year. We can lose up to 8.9 days annually in productivity each year due to our cycles. Menstrual cycles affect our lives in so many ways, and we need to reclaim our time and energy.
Having tried every remedy in the book from hormonal birth control to monthly acupuncture, I have found that sometimes the most simple solutions are the most effective. Furthermore, natural remedies can be just as effective as some of the top pharmaceuticals on the market.
Here are some of my favorite natural remedies for easing pesky menstrual symptoms:
As well as causing menstrual bleeding, research suggests that fluctuations in progesterone and estrogen levels cause our bodies to retain more water and salt. The body’s cells swell with water, causing dreaded bloating. Eating foods rich in potassium and steering clear from salty foods will certainly help with bloating.
Drinking plenty of water is the easiest way to combat bloating and ensure a healthy period. About two days before my period is set to begin, I increase my water intake by at least an extra bottle, and I start drinking my favorite tea. The CYCLE organic infusion by Romatic works wonders in helping with undesirable menstrual symptoms while also increasing water intake.
Raspberry and yarrow are plants of choice for regulating hormones and harmonizing the female cycle. Chamomile soothes menstrual pain and reduce nervous tension. Nettle reduces fatigue, detoxifying and demineralizing the body. Peppermint, in addition to its digestive and antispasmodic virtues, brings a note of freshness to the mixture. This tea is absolutely delicious so I usually buy multiples at a time since it’s a monthly staple.
During the menstrual period, prostaglandins force the uterus to contract to shed its lining. Higher levels of prostaglandins make uterus contract more strongly and can press against the nearby blood vessels, cutting off the oxygen supply to the tissue. This results in pain and cramping.
Cramps are easily the worst part about having periods. While mild cramping is normal, if severe prolonged pain persists, it may be time to consult your doctor.
Have a Bath
Oftentimes, my entire body is sore during my period. My lower back and legs will ache, and it’s impossible to cover my whole body in a hot water bottle. In comes the bath. A hot bath will raise your internal body temperature, increasing blood flow to the pelvis, and decease menstrual pain.
While a regular bath will definitely help in reducing period pain, an enriched bath will yield better results. Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) works by relaxing muscles, including your uterus, offering significant pain relief. My favorite bath salts by Ezápé Naturals contain lavender and chamomile. Studies show that lavender works naturally to reduce the severity of menstrual cramps. Furthermore, chamomile has antispasmodic properties which have been linked to significant relief from cramps.
Apply Direct Heat
If taking a long bath isn’t your style, using a safe heat source directly on your lower abdomen works wonders for cramps. An electric heating pad or a warm water bottle is a great way to reduce cramps without taking time away from your busy day.
If I am cramping at work, I like to take one of these dry hot water bottles by Pitigaïa and place it directly on my uterus. I don’t have to worry about water spilling on me and I can discreetly ease pain white carrying on with my work.
Fluctuations in hormones often lead to breakouts. In fact, approximately 65% of people experience acne during their menstrual cycles. Right before your period begins, estrogen and progesterone levels decrease. This triggers the sebaceous glands to secrete more sebum, the oily substance that lubricates the skin. Too much sebum results in clogged pores and breakouts.
While hormonal birth control can help to regulate these sebum-producing hormones, many people choose to avoid these pills for a multitude of reasons. The day before my cycle begins, I like to use this Naturessere face mask for oily skin. This helps to reduce the amount of oil on my skin, stopping breakouts before they emerge. As an added bonus, the mask is incredibly relaxing, a special treat for an emotional time.
PMS is an unfortunate symptom of womanhood, but your period does not have to control your life. Period pain and malaise does not have to be debilitating. End the period stigma, and prioritize your health and wellness. If you experience excessive pain, please consult a physician as an underlying condition could be the cause.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by Impakter.com columnists are their own, not those of Impakter.com. — Featured Photo Credit: Shutterstock